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Behind the Glass: The Magic of Steel and Novel Design

By Dennis Kaiser

Development of Natura City’s Blue Bay, a luxury condo project in Irvine, CA, is set to begin soon. Connect Media wanted to find out how so much glass was incorporated into the 120-unit, urban-oriented living project. Irvine-based MVE + Partners’ Matthew McLarand shared insights about how they achieved such a high level of transparency in the sleek, contemporary design.

MVE + Partners’ Matthew McLarand

MVE + Partners’ Matthew McLarand

Q: What is this new design typology? Why is it being explored in CA now, and what other markets have it?

A: Blue Bay is unlike any building system being explored in California right now – we’re really only seeing it in Phoenix and Atlanta, and maybe a few other pockets throughout the country.

We are responding to a growing desire of our developer clients – which is to build residential condominiums that deliver more than what is achievable using a wood frame system. We have created a design typically built using concrete that instead uses steel for a more flexible and cost-effective product. It allows us to leverage our creativity and expertise to deliver a building that eliminates many restrictions afforded by wood construction.

Q: What are the main elements or tenets of the new building typology? And what makes it work?

A: The building boasts a distinct urban characteristic, highlighted by the extensive use of glass and windows. This is achieved by utilizing a structural design consisting of a load-bearing metal framing system with internally located shear walls. Typically, such glass window-wall applications are reserved for concrete construction commonly associated with residential high-rises. By using steel, we have created an economically friendly design that preserves high-quality construction and materials. In turn, we can create setbacks throughout the design that give the building a unique character and allow for more rooftop decks.

Q: What are the big features and advantages?

A: Blue Bay is a unique project that provides an elevated building quality above the wrap and wood frame communities that have become so prevalent across the West. We planned the community for ideal liveability by embracing a design that responds to the impacts of the surrounding commercial context. The plan incorporates a variety of townhome and terraced penthouse units situated along the urban edge of McGaw Street, and oriented towards the mountain views to the northeast. The remaining units are oriented internally to face courtyards minimizing the impact of noise and views of the surrounding commercial buildings. Residents can also enjoy a community rooftop pool courtyard among the other private rooftop decks, garages connected to each unit, and sweeping views of the mountains to the northeast.

For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser


Inside The Story

Connect With MVE + Partners’ McLarand

About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

  • ◦Development
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